DSB (the Danish Railway Company) is facing large investments of about DKK 100 billion in the next 10 to 15 years. At PA Consulting Group’s Executive Seminar on 19 September, Jesper Lok, CEO of DSB, stressed that DSB needs to be an efficient business, while PA’s Leif Caspersen, transport expert, emphasised the importance of improving the overall customer experience in order to promote public traffic.
Two scenarios must be avoided: One the one hand, the massive infrastructure upgrades must not affect the punctuality of the Danish railway system. Secondly, DSB must not fail in creating the needed operational economic transparency. In order to avoid these scenarios, DSB, as a public company, must get the production and the economic situation under control. It should be clear which trains are profitable, and which are not. Moreover, DSB needs a new culture, and this process is already underway: Each employee and manager will be assessed on how they create value for DSB through their behavior and professional competencies. Also, DSB is currently working on a new strategy that will be presented in Q3 2014.
Making DSB better at measuring itself on a number of operational factors is crucial. In this way, says Jesper Lok, DSB is able to test and compare themselves to other European operators. Other figures are also interesting:
“We operate 22,000 daily departures. This is a complex optimisation task, which requires that we measure our performance and benchmark ourselves against others.”
Creating the new culture is going well, according to Jesper Lok. Through annual interviews, expectations are aligned, and employees and managers are measured against factors such as behavior, professional conduct, management and professional potential.
More operators need to take action
According to PA’s Leif Caspersen, transport expert, DSB must succeed in a few other areas before the number of passengers moving to public transport will increase.
“Signal failures, damaged train tracks and cancelled trains are not an option. The train station needs to be attractive, and traffic information must be up to speed during the journey. Also, passengers should have a coherent journey from the minute they leave their home until their reach their final destination,” said Leif Caspersen.
Jesper Lok and Leif Caspersen agree that DSB is one of many public transport operators; however, being the most visible company, DSB is often expected to solve challenges across the various operators. According to Leif, a strong operator who takes responsibility for the customer experience is needed in order to create a coherent journey and make attractive products.
Jesper Lok compares this to the train stations:
“When a passenger stands on the platform and needs to dispose a used coffee cup, he throws it the bin. It is DSB’s responsibility to empty the bin. However, if the mug misses the bin, Banedanmark (Danish railway enterprise, operating and developing the Danish state railway network) will dispose of the bin; but if the mug ends up on the pavement, outside the station, the local council will need to remove it. There must be a more efficient solution.”
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